The prosecutors college of Bulgaria’s Supreme Judicial Council voted on June 16 to appoint Borislav Sarafov as acting prosecutor-general, replacing Ivan Geshev, who was dismissed from the position by presidential decree a day earlier.
Sarafov, who has been deputy prosecutor-general since 2013 and head of the National Investigative Service since 2017, was appointed with eight members of the prosecutors college in favour and one opposed.
The college moved to make the appointment despite dissenting voices in the SJC, which said that the acting prosecutor-general should be appointed by the joint sitting of the prosecutors and judges colleges.
The decision can be appealed at the Supreme Administrative Court, but the prosecutors college voted that Sarafov should remain in office as acting prosecutor-general for the duration of any appeal.
Sarafov has emerged as the most senior opposition to Geshev in the prosecutor’s office in the past month, as the two clashed via public statements following the detonation of an explosive device near Geshev’s car on May 1.
Although initially supportive of Geshev, Sarafov later criticised his direct superior for “misleading” investigators by initially appearing to claim that he was travelling with his family at the time. He also accused Geshev of trying to interfere with the investigation.
For his part, Geshev had accused Sarafov as being the main driver of the attempt to oust him from office and a conduit for political pressure and interference in the prosecutor’s office work.
Shortly after his appointment as acting prosecutor-general, Sarafov said that he would dismiss the four other deputy prosecutor-generals, who have remained supportive of Geshev throughout the proceedings to sack him. Even before his announcement, deputy prosecutor-general Plamena Tsvetanova had already submitted her resignation, media reports said.
Sarafov also said that a review of the recent flurry of activity on investigations that had previously made little progress, in some cases for years, but did not say what actions might follow such a review, Bulgarian National Radio reported.
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